As far as Shitty Reinterpretations go, this one might take the cake. Let me draw your attention first to the cover on the right. Whimsical, light, and personal, it suggests exactly what Harriet the Spy is about: a little kid in New York City traipsing off to make adventures for herself. Let me now draw your attention to this nasty thing on the left. Behold Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, a Disney Channel movie due to be released later this year. Harriet the Spy fucking Blog Wars. What. The. Fuck.
What is wrong with the people making these decisions? Even the combination of the phrases “Disney Channel” and “Blog Wars” is enough to suggest how miserable this production will be, but it gets worse: Harriet is supposed to be 11, but in this thing she’s a 16-year-old engaging in a Gossip Girl-type battle for control of her school via blog. Instead of (like Old Harriet) recording entries about The Boy with Purple Socks (so boring that no one can remember his name) and smushing herself in her co-op’s dumbwaiter to spy on Harrison Withers, a bachelor with 26 cats, New Bloggy Harriet will be relentlessly stalking a Jonas Bro-type pop star named Skander Hill. At least in the Michelle Trachtenberg/Rosie O’Donnell adaptation–which was made 14 years ago, yeesh–shit was age-appropriate. Whereas 2010 Harriet will probably look like Ke$ha. Awesome!
I mean, as originally written in 1964, Harriet is a real kid, in that glorious stage of kid-life where you can actually engage in gender-neutral activities. Her two best friends are a boy named Sport and a girl named Janie who wants to be a scientist. Living in New York City, she very early comes to understand that the everyday activities of ordinary people are fascinating. It upsets me that such a character is very unlikely to be written today, especially if the setting is 2010–the children’s books of this sort that are still being written (like When You Reach Me) are almost necessarily set in pre-paparazzi times. I hope that there are still Harriet types running around today, girls who daydream about things other than turquoise push-up bras and putting out their own pop album, and I’m sure there totally are. But the decade’s media decisions strongly suggest otherwise.